Emma: Jay Cutler Praises Adam Gase For His Communication, Innovation
By Chris Emma--
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (CBS) -- With his youthful appearance, Adam Gase surely doesn't come off as the Bears' highly touted offensive coordinator.
But the 37-year-old Gase, whose fresh-faced look resembles that of an intern, seems to be what the Bears are looking for. He's the innovative mind and strong communicator this offense can benefit from.
"He does a really good job of putting you in the right position, keeping the defense off balanced and mixing up the play calls," Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said. "That makes it easier on the quarterback."
Gase was hired by Bears coach John Fox after the 49ers' perplexing decision to hire defensive line coach Jim Tomsula as head coach over Gase. The former Broncos offensive coordinator and trusted confidante to Peyton Manning, Gase fell into the Bears' lap.
Now, he must bring that innovation to give Chicago a new offensive identity.
"Adam's creative," Fox said. "He's a good football mind, understands the game as far as playing smart football."
Among the top objectives for Gase is getting the most out of Cutler, the Bears' starting quarterback for this season but whose future looms with uncertainty.
Cutler's seven-year deal that he signed in January 2014 only has $6 million more of guaranteed money, meaning he could be expendable after this season. The reputation of Cutler has been that of a coach killer.
All is well thus far between Gase and his starting quarterback.
"His intelligence is way better than what I thought," Gase said of Cutler. "His ability to communicate with his teammates. Because he's further ahead (with the offense) than everybody else. And he's able to get our wideouts on the same page. It's been a good process."
The difference between Gase and the previous four Bears offensive coordinators Cutler has worked with is that there's a strong level of communication -- so far, at least. Cutler clashed with Mike Martz in part because he wasn't allowed to audible out of plays and was left in the dark for play-calling rationale. His differences with -- and indifference to -- Marc Trestman and Aaron Kromer worsened as the 2014 season became a disaster.
This fresh start for Cutler and a new offensive coordinator brings what was needed.
"He does an exceptional job of communication, making sure the quarterbacks are comfortable," Cutler said of Gase. "Making sure him, (quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains) and myself are all on the same page when we go on the field. He doesn't want to call a play and me not know why."
Added Bears guard Kyle Long of Gase: "He's somebody that's approachable. He's a good communicator. I feel like he's a lot like us -- just a couple years down the road ahead of us. He's a great guy, he's somebody we enjoy coming in and spending time with."
Of course, Gase has indicated that he will make the offense about more than just Cutler. Gase is hopeful that he can bring a balance to the Bears' offense, something that Trestman failed to do in directing the unit last season.
Running back Matt Forte, 29, is entering the final season of his contract in Chicago and will likely serve as the workhorse for this offense. Forte broke the NFL record for receptions by a running back last season with 102, something that was an indictment to offensive dysfunction and playing from behind last season.
It's possible that Forte could be forced to grind out every last ounce of football in his veteran body, knowing his future in Chicago likely ends after this season. However, the Bears boast a good complement of running backs, with Jacquizz Rodgers, Ka'Deem Carey and rookie Jeremy Langford battling for time behind him too.
But this offense will always be built around Cutler, the Bears' franchise quarterback -- for now. Why will Gase's time with Cutler be different from that of Ron Turner, Martz, Mike Tice or Kromer?
"Right now, only time will tell," Gase said. "We're taking it one day at a time right now. If I knew what was going to happen, I'd play the lottery. But right now, I don't know."
What's different this time around is that Cutler is the one with the short leash, while Gase's accolades speak for themselves.
The Bears' bright young offensive mind seems to have what the team needs -- for now and, the team hopes, the years to come.
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.
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